ANAHEIM -- The Angels didn't need Mike Trout and Albert Pujols to complete a three-game sweep of the Reds on Wednesday.Ricky Nolasco fired a shutout, C.J. Cron collected two hits and two RBIs and Jefry Marte drove in a run for a 3-0 victory at Angel Stadium, extending the Angels'
ANAHEIM -- The Angels didn't need Mike Trout and Albert Pujols to complete a three-game sweep of the Reds on Wednesday.
Ricky Nolasco fired a shutout, C.J. Cron collected two hits and two RBIs and Jefry Marte drove in a run for a 3-0 victory at Angel Stadium, extending the Angels' win streak to five games. It marks the club's longest streak since starting the second half 6-0 with sweeps of the White Sox and Rangers.
"It's definitely nice and a good feeling to be out there trying to get the last out," said Nolasco, who recorded 12 straight outs to end the game and cap his first complete-game shutout in nearly four years. "I was just trying to be efficient and fill up the strike zone, not walk anybody. We made some good plays behind me and scored some runs when we needed to, and that was good."
Brandon Finnegan produced a quality start for the Reds, who have now lost four in a row and eight of their last 10 games, but he was outdueled by Nolasco. Finnegan struck out nine and walked none in seven innings, allowing two runs in the sixth inning that proved to be the difference.
The Angels rested Trout, a candidate for American League MVP, and Pujols, the Majors' active home run leader, as the team played its 22nd game in the last 23 days. It was the first time since Sept. 14, 2014, that Trout and Pujols were both held out of the lineup. More >
Nolasco scattered four hits, struck out seven and walked none. He retired 16 of the final 17 batters he faced.
During their 1-5 road trip, the one Reds win was a 13-0 victory over Arizona on Saturday. In their five losses, they scored a combined nine runs. It was the eighth time Cincinnati has been swept in a series this season, but the first since July 8-10 at Miami. The poor ending to the month left the Reds with a 13-15 record in August.
"It's certainly a step back from where we've been," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "It's the ebb and flow of the season. We had a few tough starts, short starts, got into the bullpen early and weren't able to get back into those games. That hasn't really been the recipe to our success in July and the better part of August."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
In the win column: Nolasco earned his first win in five starts with the Angels since coming over in a non-waiver Trade Deadline deal with the Twins. It was his first shutout since Sept. 9, 2012, with the Marlins and the fifth of his career.
"He has that in him, and that's encouraging," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. More >
Tough luck in the loss column: It was another nice start for Finnegan, who is winless in back-to-back games. Over his last three starts, totaling 20 innings, the left-hander has 29 strikeouts and opponents are batting .132 (9-for-68).
"I've had some good starts here lately," Finnegan said. "When you don't have the giddyup on the fastball that you usually do, the changeup plays well. It's been helping me out a lot the last few starts. I'm just hoping I can continue to do it." More >
Back-to-back .400 missed: Reds first baseman Joey Votto went 1-for-4 with a first-inning single, but he came up empty in his last three at-bats. Votto finished his August with a .394 batting average after he hit .419 in July. He was aiming to become the first Major Leaguer since Josh Hamilton in 2010 to bat .400 in consecutive months. The only Reds player to hit .400 in any two months of a season was Vada Pinson in 1961.
Red-hot Halos: Cron and Marte combined to drive in the only runs of the game. Cron has 10 RBIs over his last eight games, including six in the series against the Reds. Marte has driven in six runs in his last four games.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Nolasco picked off Votto at first base after he singled in the first inning, moving Nolasco into a five-way tie for first in the AL with four pickoffs this year. The Angels lead the Majors with 21 pickoffs as a staff.
Reds: Following an off-day on Thursday, the Reds return to Great American Ball Park at 7:10 p.m. ET on Friday for a three-game series against the Cardinals. Anthony DeSclafani, who is coming off of the first complete-game shutout of his career -- a four-hitter with nine strikeouts -- will pitch in the opener.
Angels: Los Angeles returns to action on Friday with the opener of a three-game series against the Mariners at Safeco Field. Brett Oberholtzer will make his second start for the Halos. The left-hander is 4-0 with 0.75 ERA in four career appearances (three starts) against the Mariners. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. PT.
Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.
**Austin Laymance** is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles and covered the Angels on Wednesday.
Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.